Thursday, May 31, 2007

The "Actively Disengaged" vs. “Not-Engaged” Employee: Which is better (worse)?

Actively disengaged employees aren’t just disconnected from the integration plan; they are committed to its failure. Understand in this that, in their determination, they have found an honorable reason to actively sabotage the integration and are therefore quite motivated to do so. What they are doing is right to them. Actively disengaged employees create their own culture and subsequent cultural alliances in order to get the job done. Actively disengaged employees learn to fool incorrect benchmarks and measurements and will even convince current customers and vendors to assist in their sabotage. You are surprised that actively disengaged employees do NOT resign. They do not, due to the importance of their cause within your organization.

The Gallup Organization estimates that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees that cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity, including absence, illness and other problems that result when workers are unhappy at work.

For the same reasons employees become engaged, they can become not-engaged. This happens when an employee has not been given the chance to choose to engage. We see this often in integrations where a lot of resources are spent getting upper management defined and measured and then the remaining employee base is simply told the integration plan. For true engagement to occur, every employee must be given the choice to accept and contribute to the integration plan. This is one of the reasons that a comprehensive cultural assessment is necessary and where individual assessment efforts fail. Incorrect benchmarks and/or measurements will show positive growth towards the integration plan due to not-engaged employees’ passive-aggressive and outright false reports. Not-engaged employees are ripe for raiding by headhunters, and you are surprised when they resign.

“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything... That is by making the other person want to do it.”
--Dale Carnegie